Playlist: How Christianity (Probably DIdn’t) Begin | Response to Paulogia

Paulogia is an absolute machine when it comes to responding to arguments for the historicity of the resurrection. Many have asked me to respond to his arguments. In a short video, Paulogia explains how Christianity began without the resurrection, so I figured that was a good starting point. I realize that he has a whole lot more to say on this topic, but I think this is a pretty good summary of his hypothesis. In this three-part series, I examine Paul’s epistemology regarding miracles, as well as his psycho-historical speculations of the apostles. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner … Read more

Video: A Religiously Neutral Method for Judging Miracles

Miracles seem to be a special pleading problem for Christians. The Bible claims many miracles that we often take for granted. But we turn into Richard Dawkins when other religions claim miracles. David Hume made the same complaint in his “Of Miracles” essay. What if I said Christians can meet this challenge? Enter John Douglas. Douglas was an Anglican bishop who responded to Hume’s essay. In response, Douglas offered religiously neutral criteria to filter out unverifiable miracle claims. So what were the criteria? Douglas said we can rationally doubt a miracle when… It is first reported long after the alleged miracle occurred. It is first reported far away from where the alleged miracle happened. If … Read more

Did the Disciples Die as Martyrs? | Paulogia Response

Some have said that liars make poor martyrs. The apostles’ willingness to suffer and die for their belief in Jesus’ resurrection shows they were sincere. And unlike jihadi terrorists who die for their beliefs, the disciples died saying they were eyewitnesses to the resurrection.  But have Christian apologists overstated their case? Popular atheist YouTuber Paulogia says that they have. Big time. Here I go over the case for the apostles being willing to suffer and die for their claims, and examine Paulogia’s skepticism. Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He’s a former freelance baseball writer and the co-owner of a vintage and handmade decor business with his wife, … Read more

Video: No, the Resurrection Narratives Are Not Hopelessly Contradictory

Christians are often duped by the common mistake called the ‘fallacy of the expert witness.’ While there’s nothing wrong with appealing to expert authorities, fancy credentials can’t cover up weak arguments.  Enter Bart Ehrman. Dr. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He’s written several scholarly and popular-level works that cast doubt on the reliability of the New Testament.   As an agnostic, one reason Ehrman says we should reject the resurrection of Jesus is that the Gospel narratives are “hopelessly contradictory.” But are they really? What is his case for this? Erik ManningErik is a Reasonable Faith Chapter Director located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. … Read more

Video: Undesigned Coincidences in the Passion and Resurrection Narratives

Skeptics love to tell Christians that the Gospel stories developed over time, adding more mythological elements as they went along. Matthew and Luke copied Mark plus added more fables. And then you get John’s Gospel, which is total theological fan-fiction according to the critics.  But if that’s true, why do the Gospels have interlocking details that seem to be unlikely if they were just copied from each other or some other common source? The Gospels frequently add passing details that answer a question raised by the other in a way that fits together like a jigsaw puzzle. Fictions and forgeries don’t work that way. Some scholars call these undesigned coincidences. So what the heck is an undesigned … Read more

George Park Fisher on The Hallucination Hypothesis

George Park Fisher (August 10, 1827 – December 20, 1909) taught theology at Yale and was a noted historian. He was president of the American Historical Association while he also served as the pastor at the College Church at Yale. His book, A Manual of Christian Evidences, is an awesome, short introduction to historical apologetics that I highly recommend. Below was Fisher’s take on the hallucination hypothesis, which had become one of the more popular naturalistic explanations for Jesus’ resurrection during Fisher’s time. Fisher on The hallucination theory “Were the Apostles deceived? Were these manifestations to them (and to the five hundred) a delusion of their minds? A hallucination is a disorder of the senses, … Read more

James was Jesus’ Brother. Deal With It, Mythcists.

James the brother of Jesus

It’s a pretty amazing historical fact that Jesus’ brother — who probably wore the Savior’s hand-me-downs — later in life converted to Christianity. What would it take to convince you that your brother was the Messiah? Suffice to say that would take some pretty miraculous evidence, right? The Gospel writers tell us that Jesus’ own family thought he was crazy and doubted his claims. (Mark 3:21, John 7:5) But after believing he saw the risen Jesus, James had quite the change of mind. (1 Corinthians 15:7) He became an apostle, led the Jerusalem church, and was even martyred for the faith. This is pretty compelling evidence for Christianity. Here is where Jesus-mythers try and burst our … Read more

No, Jesus’ Resurrection Is Not Like Elvis Sightings

“Oh, so you believe in that Jesus appeared to his followers after he died, huh? Do you believe Elvis is still alive too?” You often hear this kind of mockery from skeptics. Just as urban legends and conspiracy theories have sprung up shortly after Elvis’ death, the same is likely true of Jesus, and both are equally unbelievable.   The atheist philosopher Keith Parsons writes, “Like sightings of Elvis, such (resurrection) stories and bizarre experiences feed off each other and snowball.” But is that really the way resurrection stories spread? Rather than being all shook up over this rather dismissive objection, let’s see how fair this comparison is.  No, Elvis Isn’t Alive On August 16, 1977, … Read more

Is the Resurrection Less Important Than Apologists Think?

Recently I came across an article by a really smart skeptic who goes by the handle of ‘Non-Alchemist’. I’ve crossed philosophical swords with him in the past over Twitter, and he’s a good guy who always makes me think. I greatly appreciate him for that. The blog post is titled ‘Why The Historical Case For The Resurrection Is Less Important Than You Think’. As Christians, we tend to think that a robust argument for the resurrection is all we need to prove Christianity. That argument fails for reason that the Torah says specifically that miracles don’t necessarily prove a divine revelation. Non-Alchemist writes: “Deuteronomy 13 informs us that Yahweh is willing to test his people’s … Read more

The Chick-Fil-A Argument for the Resurrection

What’s one of the most disappointing feelings in the world? Craving Chick-Fil-A and realizing that it’s Sunday. The chicken chain’s founder famously closed all locations on Sundays because of his Christian beliefs. But what’s the deal with the whole “Christians worshipping on a Sunday” thing? And does it serve as evidence for Christianity? You might think that’s a weird question, but according to the 19th-century scholar and clergyman George Maclear, it does. He wrote why in a 40-page essay titled “The Evidential Value of the Observance of the Lord’s Day.” In this tract, Maclear provides the historical background data regarding the celebration of Lord’s Day. He then asks his reader what best explains the evidence.  The historical value of … Read more

Is Jesus Alive?